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‘Affordable’ doesn’t cut it. State needs to boost public housing.

The view overlooking the courtyard at the Brookline Housing Authority Trustman Apartments complex in Brookline. Advocates are calling for the Legislature to double the budget for public housing in Massachusetts in order to make necessary repairs to existing buildings.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

I applaud the Globe for bringing attention to the underfunding of our state public housing (“Stymied by repair costs,” Page A1, May 18). In the plethora of media coverage of the housing shortage, those with the greatest need for housing are often neglected. Public housing is a primary provider of affordable housing for low-income families, seniors, and those with disabilities. For them, other sources of affordable housing are out of reach.

Much of the promoted affordable housing charges rents higher than the total monthly income of public housing tenants. For example, in Arlington, the planning department is advertising three so-called affordable one-bedroom apartments in a 40B development for a monthly rent of $1,727. Yet, by our calculations, the average monthly income of seniors and disabled residents served by the Arlington Housing Authority is only $1,346.


As detailed in Andrew Brinker’s front-page story, the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization has correctly identified the greatest housing need in the state: the adequate funding of our public housing. It is now time for state lawmakers to act.

Jo Anne Preston


Arlington Housing Authority